For better or worse, we made a decision to ride out the pandemic in Portugal, a decision we don't regret. The trip back in the throws of early lockdown was daunting and would have had a panicked feel. We did an impressive amount of school in our sanctuary in Ponte da Barca and had a very special time as a family. We dealt with the mounting fear by focusing on what we could control - our time with each other. It became especially difficult (for Tracy especially), to ignore both the urging of his parents ("Trace, um, when are you guys coming home?!") and the Government of Canada. The boys did not want to return. Kiki was still hoping to make it to Holland, maybe her last chance to see her 94-year old grandmother. Keep in mind, we didn't know in March just how bad things would get. And we did have the luxury of more than 3 months prior to having to fly home.
The price of all this was that most of the flights have been canceled or changed, something we anticipated. From the end of March, there have been no commercial flights to Haida Gwaii, and Air Canada has suspended nearly all its flights.
Our original plan was to overland to Holland over the course of our time here, and fly home from Amsterdam. Every few weeks, we received notice of changes. With the pandemic deepening and borders closing, it became clear we would be staying in Portugal, and we would have to revise our way home. First were the canceling of Haida Gwaii flights. Second were Air Canada's changes (too many to list here). Bottom line is we fly from Lisbon to Amsterdam on June 12, overnight at the airport. On June 13, we fly to Frankfurt, then Toronto, then Vancouver, overnighting at the airport there. It is our last leg - to Haida Gwaii - that presents the most challenge. The ferry is still running, but this isn't a realistic option. In the end, we've found a private flight that will bring us home on June 14, where we begin our isolation. Haida Gwaii, as of writing, is COVID-19 free, and we do not want to be the index case that changes that, a lesson painfully learned recently in Campbellton, New Brunswick. Kudos to the CHN and local leaders at creating policy that has kept the population healthy through limitations on non-resident travel to Haida Gwaii.
Now time to enjoy our last time here and hope this fragile plan doesn't fall apart. We still have to manage our bikes. We still have to get back to Lisbon. And most importantly, we need to be vigilant to not become infected with COVID.